PLEASE NOTE: Please be aware that the content and linked resources in this newsletter are of a sensitive nature and may be disturbing for some scholars. It may be advisable to give your scholars advanced notice of the potentially disturbing content that will be discussed. If necessary, please refer scholars to a relevant professional. Teachers are also advised to be aware of their school policy as well as the requirements by law should a scholar confide in them regarding grooming or any sexual abuse.


According to Section 110 of the South African Children’s Act of 2005, teachers have an obligation by law to report possible incidents of child abuse and neglect¹.





“This is the process by which a sexual predator gains the trust of a child or their family in order to start a sexual relationship with a child in secret.”²

It is important to note that age, gender, race, socio-economic status or sexual orientation are not precursors to grooming. Anyone can be groomed at any point in their lives by anyone. Child grooming is viewed as a serious sexual offence under the Criminal Law: Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act 32 of 2007.

Grooming can take place in person or online, or even both, and can be perpetrated by someone who is known to the person who is ultimately groomed or their family such as a family member, coach, teacher, church leader or counsellor, or by a complete stranger. Groomers form a relationship that feels like a ‘normal’ healthy relationship before the sexual abuse begins, so that the person being groomed feels like it is either normal behaviour or they feel so trapped that they are unable to remove themselves from the situation³.


  • Favouritism: The groomer pays extra attention to a child and favours them over anyone else. The child may even receive more attention from the groomer than from their own parents/guardians. For example, a coach who always gives preferential treatment to one scholar.5
  • Gaining trust: The groomer will gain their trust and often the trust of their parents/guardians or other adults who are connected to the person being groomed. 
  • Isolation: The groomer gets the person being groomed into an isolated situation which may not seem threatening at the time, but ensures that they are alone. This could be booking them out of school, tutoring, private coaching or trips that do not include other people.5

    Not all of these situations on their own indicate grooming; some people need extra coaching or tutoring and this does not mean that they are being groomed. It is, however, important to remain vigilant at all times.  
  • Boundary and taboo violations: This is when the groomer meets needs that are not being met or cannot be met elsewhere e.g., by parents/guardians, such as monetary gifts, or when the groomer allows the person being groomed to do things they are not allowed to do with their parents/guardians, for example, smoking or drinking. This stage can involve exposure to pornography. These violations now become a secret between the person being groomed and the groomer.5

    Once this happens the groomer starts to test physical boundaries. For example, touching that may seem innocent but is inappropriate.

    Taboo violations are one of the easiest ways to spot grooming. If an adult is facilitating and participating in something that a person’s parents/guardians do not allow, such as consuming alcohol, watching pornography, giving them access to drugs or anything along those lines, it is important to question that adult’s motives.  
  • Sexualising the relationship: This is when the groomer desensitises the person being groomed to sexual abuse. This can occur by, for example, showing them inappropriate and explicit pictures or videos. The groomer uses the person’s natural curiosity to exploit them and manipulate them into thinking that what is happening is normal. 
  • Control: The groomer maintains control by using secrecy, blame and threats of exposure. The groomer is often in a position of authority and power and so the person being groomed feels unable to speak out.


Consent is the agreement between two people to participate in sexual activity. It must be communicated freely and clearly; there must be no coercion; neither party must be under the influence of drugs or alcohol; neither party should be unconscious and they must both be over the legal age. At the crux of consent is communication and the respect of boundaries.

The age of criminal capacity in South Africa is 14 years old. This means that you could face jail time if you commit a crime.


One of the problems with grooming is the denial that occurs during the grooming process and when the grooming has been uncovered. People linked to the groomer cannot believe what the groomer has done, and sometimes those who have been groomed may try and downplay what has happened if they have not been sexually assaulted. 

Any allegations of grooming need to be taken extremely seriously and reported to the police. The person being groomed needs to be supported throughout the process.

Did you know? Offenders in careers with children, e.g., coaches, teachers, youth counsellors etc.,  can have as many as 300–400 victims in their careers. 6



Discuss the following: 

  1. The power of grooming is in the secret. 
  1. What school policies do you know of that are in place to protect scholars? Consider the school’s Code of Conduct.

If you are using the Achieve Careers LO Programme, the following information and activities are recommended: 

Grade 8 LO: Section 4 pp. 39 & 63

Please note that in conjunction with this newsletter we will also be sending a PowerPoint resource to all our clients in order to assist with the facilitation of this topic.


What Are The 7 Signs of Grooming (8.54)

Consent Explained: What Is It? (1.46)

Important dates this month:
29th May – 5th June: Child Protection Week

This content has been consulted by and created in collaboration with Luke Lamprecht who is a Child Protection and Development Specialist.


  1. Law for All. Child Abuse in South Africa – How to Identify and Report it, [Online], Available:ly/AbuseReportLaw [20 May 2022].
  2. Kati Morton, 2017. What are the 7 Signs of Grooming by a Sexual Predator. Available:ly/SignsGrooming [24 Mar 2022].
  3. Victoria State Government. Child Sexual Exploitation and Grooming, [Online], Available: ly/GroomingSexual[24 Mar 2022].
  4. Welner, M. ‘Child Sexual Abuse: 6 Stages of Grooming’,, [Electronic], Available:ly/GroomingStages [24 Mar 2022].
  5. Life Podcasts and Catch-up. Afternoons with Relebogile Mabotja – Sexual Grooming in Child AbuseAvailable:ly/PodcastGrooming [24 Mar 2022].
  6. Mamacos, E. (2021) ‘Schools Sports and Grooming: Why is this such a Widespread Issue?’, [Electronic], Available:
    ly/GroomingSports[20 May 2022].
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